The construction of “Schloss Bernard,” my writer’s studio in Kennewick, Washington.

The fairy tale continues. The rise of what I like to think of as Schloss Bernard, my new writer’s studio—my castle—signals the beginning of a new phase of my life. I have a few weeks remaining in Georgia before I, and my Shih-Tzu buddy, Stormy, wing our way west to where the freshly-minted Mrs. Bernard, Barbara, awaits.

Yes, it will be to a land far, far away, but not where “gray mists hide the tops of green forests, and deep snows crown sawtoothed peaks.” It will be on the other side of those storied mountains, where moisture-laden Pacific winds die a parched death, and a semi-arid steppe swaddled in sagebrush and cheatgrass sprawls from horizon to horizon.

Ah, but I will not die of thirst there, for it is wine country, with irrigated vineyards springing forth like new subdivisions in Atlanta. California vintners have reason to worry, But I do not. A sip—or two or three—a day keeps writer’s block at bay. (I don’t know if that’s true, but I saw it on Facebook, so it must be.)

And I will write. Barbara, who has become my business consultant, has already confirmed that. Schloss Bernard was her idea. Not only that, but my publisher has chimed in, saying it would like to see a new manuscript by the end of 2022. Further, it would like to have a few details about the work on hand by the time my newest publication, When Heroes Flew: The Roof of the World, hits the market in a few months.

But wait, I need to take a deep breath and slow down. Barbara and I are at the stage of life where the guys in Pakistan have stopped calling to offer us extended warranties. Thus, while there’s still a whiff of fuel in our tanks and a sheen of rubber on our treads, we’d like to do some traveling. After all, there’s a lot to see in the PacNW . . . as a couple of gentlemen from the East—who floated down a river called the Snake and bobbed into the Columbia just a few miles from where we’ll be living—discovered over two centuries ago.

I promise, the next book will come. But I want to ease into it. I want to explore, whack a few golf balls, and sit at my desk in Schloss Bernard where, when I’m not writing, I will be able to gaze out at the beauty of the castle grounds. Over many years, Barbara has nurtured a garden where roses and grapes shelter in the shade of towering ash and maple trees. And where a quartet of feral cats will probably not welcome Stormy.

The castle grounds.

And if I lift my gaze just a bit, I will see in the distance the tawny ridges of the Horse Heaven Hills. There, indigenous people likely stood watch over the mighty Columbia long before any visitors from the East arrived.

Long before Buzz Bernard and Stormy will have arrived.


  1. Edd Lawhon on November 27, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    A tantalizing tidbit of things to come. We’re so happy for you and Barb. Will we see another offering from ‘When Heroes Flew’ or weather related. Whatever comes, it’ll be great.

    • Buzz Bernard on November 27, 2021 at 1:57 pm

      Looking forward to my new adventure. Hope you and Sherry can make it to Schloss Bernard sometime.

  2. Lewis Keizer on November 27, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Good to create a private writing place. We hope the ferals don’t give you Stormy vet bills. Maybe keep him in Schloss Bernard with you.

    • Buzz Bernard on November 27, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      Stormy is definitely an indoor dog. Maybe not as big as the castle dogs I encountered in Germany, but he’ll be happy sitting at my feet.

  3. Meridel Prideaux on November 27, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    What a lovely place to write🌺 Can’t wait to see what comes forth. Safe journey to The NW🍁

    • Buzz Bernard on November 27, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks, Meridel. Hope you can make it to “the other side of the mountains” sometime. Love to visit.

  4. Grant and Kathy Hedges on November 27, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Looking forward to more of your writing. Just working on our Christmas list and could use a new address sometime.
    Safe journeys. Be sure to get up the road to British Columbia, its incredibly beautiful and not over crowded.
    We’ll stay in touch and stop by when our travels take us in your direction.

    • Buzz Bernard on November 27, 2021 at 6:25 pm

      We’ll look forward to it. Please stay in touch. I’ll be at my “old” address through New Years.

  5. Karlyn on November 27, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Still excited for you both! Looks like your new writing digs will be inspiring! Let us know if you come west before your planned visit next fall! Hugs to you both!

    • Buzz Bernard on November 27, 2021 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks, Karlyn. I’m looking forward to being in the great Northwest again.

  6. ZJ Czupor on November 28, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Happy for you and Barbara. Hoping when you and Stormy make your long trek to the other side of the country we’ll get a Steinbeckian report of “Travels with Stormy.”

    • Buzz Bernard on November 28, 2021 at 9:51 am

      It’ll be a fast trek in a “big ol’ jet airliner.” The car will follow, riding (on a car carrier) rather than being driven. Both Barbara and I have been forbidden (by our kids) to attempt a cross-country road journey.

  7. Sue Shaffer on November 29, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    So fun to see Barb’s garage space transformed into Schloss Bernard AND saving some of the lovely surrounding landscaping to boot! Being an artist myself, I fully endorse the notion of your own space to fully concentrate and with a new book coming you will be in heaven.

    Not to worry about the fearsome gang of cats ’cause: Cats outside, Stormy inside. Barb will be so happy to have a dog around again.

    Travel well across the big divide!!!

    • Buzz Bernard on November 29, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      Thank you, Sue. Be there soon. I hope Stormy will adjust easily to his new home, Unfortunately, I can’t explain to him what’s about to happen.

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